Trucks cartel: AG Pitruzzella’s opinion on civil liability of subsidiaries for competition law infringements of the undertaking

On 15 April 2021 the CJEU’s Advocate General (AG) Pitruzzella handed down his opinion in the preliminary ruling procedure relating to the Trucks cartel litigation in Spain. The Barcelona Provincial Court (‘Barcelona Court’) requested the CJEU to interpret EU law on the question of whether a subsidiary company is liable for damages where the Commission has only fined the parent company for anticompetitive behavior. The AG in Case C-882/19 takes the view that, subject to conditions, a subsidiary without being addressee of the cartel decision can be held liable for the damages caused by the infringement. The Opinion, when confirmed by the CJEU, has as well implications on the question of where victims of Europe-wide cartel behavour might bring claims for damages.

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Air Cargo Cartel: Application of Art. 101 TFEU in damage actions by national courts (Netherlands: 1 – England: 0)

On 6 May 2021 the CJEU published the opinion by AG Bobek in Case C‑819/19 Stichting Cartel Compensation and Equilib Netherlands BV v. KLM NV et al regarding a request for a preliminary ruling from the Rechtbank Amsterdam. It concerns damage actions against members of the international Air Cargo cartel. The case is particularly interesting as it shows the importance of choosing the right forum for a damage action in EU-wide cartel cases and the risks if national courts do not make use of preliminary rulings that are aimed at ensuring a consistent application of EU law across all Member States. Should the CJEU follow the opinion of AG Bobek, claimants that have pursued damage claims before the Amsterdam Court will have good chances to obtain compensation for the entire duration of the cartel from 1999 to 2006, while claimants before the High Court of England and Wales saw their damage claims significantly reduced to the period between 2004 and 2006.

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Les dommages et intérêts dans les affaires de position dominante : l’exemple de Google Shopping

Si une multitude d’actions en réparation sont régulièrement déposées devant les juridictions de divers pays de l’Union européenne en rapport avec l’article 101 TFUE (pensez, par exemple, à l’abondance des litiges contre les constructeurs de camions), il n’en va pas encore de même pour les affaires d’abus de position dominante. Bien que la Directive régissant […]

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Trucks Cartel: German Supreme Court confirms the binding effect of settlement decisions and the presumption of damages

By judgment of 23 September 2020 (KZR 35/19, translation into English) the German Federal Court of Justice (‘Bundesgerichtshof’, ‘BGH’) provides detailed guidance on legal principles and standards of proof regarding several key aspects of actions for damages resulting from the European trucks cartel. The Bundesgerichtshof confirms that the scope of the infringement established in the […]

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Beyond ORWI: German Supreme Court continues clarifying the ‘passing-on defence’ in cartel damages cases

Cartel members sued for damages regularly invoke as a defence that the plaintiff passed on the overcharge resulting from their unlawful behaviour to its own customers (the ‘indirect purchasers’) and was hence not entitled to claim damages for it. In the well-known ORWI judgment of 28 June 2011 (KZR 75/10), the Federal Court of Justice […]

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Private damages in dominance cases: the example of Google Shopping

While a plethora of damages claims are regularly filed in front of jurisdictions in various countries of the European Union related to Article 101 TFEU (think, for example, the abundance of litigation against truck manufacturers), the same is not yet true for abuse of dominance cases. Notwithstanding that the Damages Directive is equally applicable to […]

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Full steam ahead: German Supreme Court provides further guidance on ‘umbrella claims’ and the ‘passing-on defence’

Are there no public benefits from a hardcore cartel? The German Rails Cartel, at least, continues to contribute to the general development of private claims for damages resulting from an infringement of the EU cartel prohibition (Article 101 TFEU) and its national equivalent. From this perspective, it supports consumers, by promoting legal certainty for an […]

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Spanish Trucks Cartel Litigation: Temporal application of EU Damages Directive provisions on limitation and quantification of harm

In the aftermath of Directive 2014/104/EU (Directive), Spain appears to be one of the most active jurisdictions dealing with antitrust damages cases. In particular, a multitude of Spanish courts have been seized with actions for compensation in relation to the European Trucks Cartel (Case AT.39824-Trucks). In that context, preliminary ruling requests were addressed by Spanish […]

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Paris court of appeal awards EUR 249 million in antitrust damage action against Orange

On 17 June 2020, the Paris Court of Appeal (hereinafter the “Court”) handed down its judgment (hereinafter the “Orange ruling”) in which it ordered Orange to pay EUR 249.5 million (EUR 181.5 million in damages plus EUR 68 million in interest) to the telecom operator Digicel for anti-competitive practices implemented in the West Indies in the early […]

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Actions for damages and unlawful State Aids

Under EU law, State aids are in principle prohibited unless authorised by the European Commission. In cases where Member States grant a State aid to an undertaking without obtaining the prior authorization of the European Commission, competitors of the beneficiary of this unlawful State Aid may obtain damages for the financial harm they may suffer […]

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